Since the Trump administration assassinated Iranian leader Qasem Soleimani last week, lawmakers have been largely split down party lines re: the wisdom of the move, with most Republicans praising the killing as bold and patriotic and most Democrats criticizing it for being rash, chaotic, and likely to only lead to negative outcomes for the United States. On Wednesday, though, that breakdown shifted when GOP Senator Mike Lee of Utah tore the administration a proverbial new one following a briefing that he characterized as "insulting and demeaning," among other things.
Speaking to reporters after a 75-minute sit-down with Defense Secretary Mark Esper, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, CIA Director Gina Haspel, and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Mark Milley, Lee said the session was "probably the worst briefing I've seen, at least on a military issue." Presumably, that may have had something to do with the fact that, asked what action from Iran would trigger the White House to seek authorization for the use of military force from Congress, one briefer reportedly responded with something like "I'm sure we could think of something," without actually being able to identify anything. A clearly disturbed Lee said officials warned lawmakers that debating Trump's war powers would "embolden" Iran, which he found "insulting and demeaning…to the office that each of the 100 senators in this building happens to hold" and to "the Constitution of the United States."
Mike Lee Slams Trump Administration Briefing On Iran | MTP Daily | MSNBC www.youtube.com
What's more, the whole thing backfired: Both Lee and Senator Rand Paul, who also spoke to reporters Wednesday, said that while they were undecided on the War Powers Act resolution pushed by Senator Tim Kaine going into the briefing, they now fully support it.
"I can say that after that briefing—that briefing is what changed my mind…. I'm now going to support it," Lee said. "I walked into the briefing undecided, I walked out of that briefing decided specifically because of what happened in that briefing." He added: "I still haven't had questions answered that I came into that briefing expecting to ask…. They had to leave after 75 minutes while they were in the process of telling us that we need to be good little boys and girls and run along and not debate this in public. I find that absolutely insane."
Paul, who has been reliably pro-Trump, though he has expressed compunctions when it comes to armed conflict with Iran, said that the briefing was "less than satisfying," and criticized the administration for using the 2002 war authorization as an excuse for last week's strike against Soleimani. "I see no way in the world you could logically argue that an authorization to have war with Saddam Hussein has anything to with having war with people currently in Iraq," Paul told reporters, calling it "absurd" and an "insult."
Vanity Fair, January 8, 2020
January 9, 2020
Voices4America Post Script. While it is refreshing to hear Mike Lee (UT) speak the truth, here will be no GOP revolt despite his and Rand Paul (KY) disgust. We need four to set the Senate rules.
McConnell will NOT hold #FairTrial with #Witnesses
Will Romney (UT) and Murkowski (AK)stick? Collins (ME) will not. She has taken McConnell's bribe.